An Irish Rugby Football Union representative has poured cold water on suggestions that Irish provinces will join the proposed "Rugby Champions Cup."
While Premiership Rugby and their French counterparts, the Ligue National de Rugby, are pushing ahead with plans for a breakaway European tournament, in the hope that the leading Pro12 sides will come aboard, support from the six national unions has not been forthcoming.
Peter Boyle, an IRFU representative on the ERC management board, has ruled out the possibility that Leinster, Munster, Ulster or Connacht - who are largely funded but the IRFU - will join the new competition.
"The RFU and French Rugby Federation have already confirmed that there will be no new company other than ERC to run European competitions," Boyle told the Independent on Sunday.
"It is unequivocal that the negotiation of TV and other rights is central and it's done by ERC. The IRFU are bound into ERC and that restricts completely the movement of Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connacht."
Boyle also claims that the IRFU would be willing to consider reducing the number of teams qualifying via the Pro12 and thus reducing the Heineken Cup from 24 teams to 20, as per the wishes of the English and French clubs.